Wimbledon 2023 Lucky Losers

The term “lucky loser” refers to players who have failed to qualify for the main draw of a tournament but are granted a second chance to compete. This unique opportunity allows them to replace players who have withdrawn due to injury or other reasons.

Lucky losers often become unexpected underdogs, showcasing their resilience and seizing the opportunity to make an impact on the tournament. One such remarkable instance occurred in the Madrid Masters 2023 when Jan-Lennard Struff reached the final as a lucky loser. Despite the setback in the qualifying rounds, Struff showed determination and capitalized on this unexpected opportunity.

Selection of Lucky Losers

The selection of lucky losers at Wimbledon provides an exciting element to the tournament, offering talented players a second opportunity to showcase their skills on the grand stage of one of tennis’ most prestigious events. It not only adds unpredictability but also rewards players who have demonstrated their potential in the qualifying rounds.

At Wimbledon, it follows a specific set of criteria designed to give players who narrowly missed qualifying for the main draw a second chance to compete. Prior to the start of the main draw, Wimbledon holds qualifying rounds. These rounds involve matches between players seeking to secure a place in the tournament. The number of qualifying rounds may vary, but they generally determine which players will advance to the main draw.

After the completion of the qualifying rounds, the players who reach the final round but fall short of qualifying become potential candidates for lucky loser spots. These players have showcased their skill and competitiveness but narrowly missed the opportunity to enter the main draw.

The lucky losers are then determined based on their ranking positions. The player with the highest ranking among the final-round losers is the first lucky loser, followed by the player with the second-highest ranking, and so on. The rankings are crucial in determining the order of selection and ensuring fairness in the process.

As the main draw progresses, players may withdraw due to various reasons, such as injuries. These withdrawals create vacancies in the draw. The lucky losers are given the opportunity to fill these vacant spots based on their ranking order. This system ensures that players who have already proven themselves in the qualifying rounds have a chance to compete against the best in the main draw.

Once a player withdraws from the tournament, the lucky losers are promptly notified about their inclusion in the main draw. This allows them to prepare mentally and physically for their upcoming matches, often with limited time to adjust to the change in their tournament plans.

Wimbledon 2022’s Lucky Losers

In the 2022 Wimbledon tournament, a number of players had the fortune of being lucky losers, granting them a second chance to compete in the prestigious event. Among the men’s lucky losers were Elias Ymer, Stefan Kozlov, Zdenek Kolar, Hugo Grenier, and Nuno Borges. In the women’s draw, Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove, CoCo Vandeweghe, and Yuan Yue earned their spots as lucky losers.

Despite a second chance, Ymer, Kozlov, Kolar and Borges could not make the most of the opportunity and were sent packing in the first round. Out of the five, only Grenier made it past the first round, where he faced Cristian Garin, who had earlier dashed Ymer’s hopes. The Chilean made little work of the Frenchman and claimed a 3-0 victory at his expense.

Kekhove reached the second round after beating Sonay Kartal. However, the Dutch ace could not cross Iga Swiatek but did give a good account of her abilities in the three-set affair. Fortune did not smile on Vandeweghe and Yue, who were ousted at the first hurdle by Bianca Andreescu and Amanda Anisimova, respectively.

Wimbledon 2023’s Lucky Losers

Men’s Lucky Losers

For the Men’s Lucky Losers section at Wimbledon 2023, several players earned the fortunate opportunity to compete in the main draw after falling short in the qualifying rounds. Among them were Taro Daniel, Yosuke Watanuki, and Michael Mmoh

Taro Daniel

After defeating Marco Trungelliti 6-2 and 6-4, the Japanese ace made little work of Luca Nardi in the second qualifying round. However, after a tense battle against Kimmer Coppejans, he came second in the five-set affair. He has been given a second lease of life and will wake on Ben Shelton in Round 1.

  • First Round: Defeat vs Ben Shelton

The Japanese ace took the opportunity with both hands against Shelton and gave a good account of his abilities. After accruing a 2-0 lead, Daniel roared back to make it 2-2. However, he did not have an answer to the young American’s big serve and succumbed in the end. Shelton sent down 22 aces to the four that Daniel managed. The 106-ranked star’s serve let him down with 6 double faults.

Yosuke Watanuki

Like compatriot Daniel, Watanuki also suffered a defeat in the final qualifier. Austrian Dennis Novak lost the tie-breaker in the first round but returned with flair to triumph 3-1. Watanuki will not take on the challenge of  Marc-Andrea Huesler.

  • First Round: Victory vs Marc-Andrea Huesler

Watanuki was involved in a 224-minute marathon against Marc-Andrea Huesler. The Japanese ace was on the fast track to an early exit with the Swiss ace taking a 2-0 lead yesterday before play was interrupted. It proved to be fortunate with lady luck smiling on Watanuki again. The 25-year-old did not need any more invitations, taking set 3 and 4 on tiebreaks before finishing off Huesler 6-3 in the deciding fifth set.

  • Second Round: Yosuke Watanuki vs Alexander Zverev

Watanuki battled against Zverev but could not handle the fire the German ace brought. Zverev was dominant on his serve with 68% first serve percentage, winning 57 of the 68 points. Moreover, he was efficient on saving break points while making sure to hurt Watanuki on the other end of the net. The Japanese ace was on the backfoot on these occasions but will be pleased with saving 8 of the 13 breakpoint opportunities that came on his serve.

Michael Mmoh

Adrian Andreev and Dragos Nicolae Madaras were dispatched off in straight sets by Mmoh. However, the American could not find a way past Laurent Lokoli, despite taking the lead and bringing the set score to parity. He has a tough task on his hands after being pit against Felix Auger Aliassime, the world number 12.

  • First Round: Victory vs Felix Auger-Aliassime

The American had a tough first-round rival in 11th seed Felix Auger Aliassime. The Canadian pushed Mmoh hard with the first three sets being decided on tiebreakers. The 119-ranked upstart triumphed on two of these occasions, breaking Auger-Aliassime’s will in the process. Mmoh romped to a 6-4 win in the deciding set to set a date with Maximilian Marterer.

  • Second Round: Defeat vs Maximilian Marterer

After his hard-fought victory over Auger-Aliassime, Mmoh readied for his second meeting with Maximilian Marterer. The German ace had defeated him in their prior meeting at the 2017 Rome Masters. Mmoh was the higher-ranked rival in this duel but could not translate it into an effective performance. Marterer was always in control of the encounter, booking a bout with Alexander Bublik with his 7-5, 7-6 and 6-4 triumph over Mmoh.

Fabian Marozsan

The Hungarian ace defeated Oleksii Krutzkh and Elia Ymer to reach the final qualifying round. He could not get past Maximilian Marterer, succumbing to the German ace in a five-set epic. Lady luck has smiled on Marozsan, who was given a late Lucky Losers spot in the main draw. He will take on the challenge of David Goffin in the first round.

  • First Round: Defeat vs David Goffin

Marozsan had to contend with former world number 7, David Goffin, in the opening round. After losing the first set 6-2, the Hungarian roared back to make it 1-1. Goffin did not let up and claimed the following two sets 6-2 and 6-0 to knock out the lucky loser.

Women’s Lucky Losers

In the Women’s Lucky Losers section, Nao Hibino and Tamara Korpatsch stood out as players who seized a second chance to showcase their skills on the prestigious grass courts of Wimbledon.

Nao Hibino

The Japanese ace impressed in the earlier qualifying rounds, earning straight sets victories over Anastasia Zakharova and Reka-Luca Jani. However, she had no answer to Storm Hunter, who broke her serve four times whilst managing a 73% first serve percentage. Hibino will not take on the challenge of Alize Cornet in the first round of the main draw.

  • First Round: Defeat vs Alize Cornet

Hibino’s struggles on grass continued as she was easily dispatched from Wimbledon main draw by Cornet. The Frenchwoman was always in control of the game, showcasing remarkable accuracy in breaking Hibino’s serve. She carved out five opportunities for herself in the duel and profited on each occasion. At the other end of the net, Cornet managed to save four of the five breakpoints on her serve.

Tamara Korpatsch

The 28-year-old German has had a tiring run at Wimbledon. Her win over Mai Hontama came in three sets as was her defeat in the qualifying final to teenager Mirra Andreeva. She now turns her attention towards Carol Zhao with a potential meeting with world number 18, Karolina Pliskova on the cards next.

  • First Round: Win vs Carol Zhao

Given a new lease of life at the All England Club, Tamara did not disappoint with an exciting battle with Zhao. She started poorly, getting her serve broken thrice and losing the first set 6-1. This proved to be the only hurrah Zhao would manage as she forced a deciding set by winning the second set 6-4. Korpatsch completed the comeback with a flawless performance in the third set, taking it 6-2 to triumph 2-1.

  • Second Round: Tamara Korpatsch vs Natalija Stevanovic

Korpatsch was the final lucky loser to bow out of the Wimbledon Championships. Her defeat to 255-ranked Natalija Stevanovic would have surely hurt despite going into the meeting as a slight underdog. The Serbian star registered her seventh win on the 2023 grass court circuit with Tamara giving her a fifth successive straight-sets victory. Despite the set score, it was not an easy bout with 24 games being played in the 158 minutes of action.

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